When King Joash, guided by the high priest Jehoiada, was restoring Solomon’s temple, he ordered a chest to be placed outside it and issued a proclamation asking people to bring gifts (2 Chron. 24:1–16). Everyone “brought their contributions gladly, dropping them into the chest until it was full” (v. 10). The money collected was used to pay the artists and craftsmen working on the project. The people were so generous that they filled the chest many times.
As recorded in 2 Chronicles, the Israelites were following the generous example of their ancestors. In today’s reading, we see the call to go out for gifts to be used in constructing the tabernacle. The people responded with enthusiasm. Where did these former slaves get all these treasures? From the Egyptians (Ex. 12:35–36)! What beautiful irony that the wealth of their former masters would now be used to worship the God who had liberated them.
The people’s offerings were used to build the tabernacle, including all its furnishings and especially the Ark of the Covenant, symbolizing God’s throne (25:10–22). On top of the Ark would be an “atonement cover” or “mercy seat,” indicating that God rules with mercy, as well as attendant cherubim, representing His power. The colors of the tabernacle also symbolized His divine kingship, as purple stood for royalty and blue for divinity.
The two stone tablets would be placed inside the Ark because the Law and covenant were at the heart of God’s relationship with His people. Later it would also contain a sample of manna, as a reminder of God’s provision (Ex. 16:32–34; Heb. 9:4). The Ark of the Covenant was the only piece of furniture in the Most Holy Place inside the tabernacle, a space that could be entered only once per year (26:31–35).
We are called to be generous. When you put money in the collection plate or set up an autogift to a ministry, do you see it as an act of worship? God told Moses to accept offerings “from everyone whose heart prompts them to give” (25:2). The same principle is seen in the New Testament (2 Cor. 9:7). How’s your heart for giving?